Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Every family in Egypt (Exodus 12:29-30).

At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

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  • aunursa

    From my Chumash:

    Every firstborn. Pharaoh was the only firstborn to be spared, so that he could tell all of the world about God’s greatness. The Egyptian firstborn died because they had persecuted the Jews; those of the captives died because they enjoyed Jewish suffering, or so that they would not be able to claim that their idols had protected them. The plague struck down not only those who were known to be firstborn, but also the eldest children of men who lived with women other than their wives. In a country as licentious as Egypt, this mean that a woman could have had many firstborn, whose paternity was known only to God. In addition, if there were no firstborn in a house, the oldest member of the household died. This is why the next verse states that there was a dead person in every house, and why the Egyptians could think (verse 33) that they were all dying (Rashi).

    In the plain sense of the verse, however, only the firstborn of the mothers died (Ramban). If so, that the Egyptians spoke of every house having a corpse was an indication of the national panic, but was not meant literally.

  • Carstonio

    If both the Israelite and Egyptian cultures had attached a different value to the birth order in families, most likely this story would have had the third- or fourth-born being smited. My concern is that the story is often misinterpreted as being born first having intrinsic value, or that societies should value that, and I say this as a first-born myself. 

  • Vermic

    Do you know, I never noticed before that even the livestock lost their firstborn in this story.

    Comparing the end of the Book of Job to this, I guess it’s worth something that whether God’s feeling merciful or cruel, he remembers the animals either way.

  • Wednesday

    One reason Passover is my favorite religious holiday is that its traditional celebration includes frank recognition that the Plagues (especially this one) were awful and the Egyptians were people who suffered and died*. We cannot drink a full cup knowing others suffered so that we could be free…

    *The issue of historical validity of the Exodus aside.

  • Darkrose

    This was the first thing that bothered me about the Bible as a child. Did I count as the firstborn, since I was the first child of my mother and father, or would I be okay because I wasn’t my mother’s firstborn? My father was definitely the firstborn in his family, and so was my mother; at what point are you safe? What about our dog?

    And yes, this was something that supposedly happened centuries ago, but to a literal-minded 6-year-old with a strong sense of empathy and an (over)active imagination, these were important questions.

  • ohiolibrarian

    I always heard of this as firstborn SONS. Was it just firstborn of either sex?

  • StillCraig

    This one was kind of lame. A proper Jack Chick Fil-A “Biblical” family should reflect the types of marriage practices that are in the Bible. It doesn’t even appear that the Egyptians were polygamous. You haven’t mentioned Gideon or King David, yet. Gideon had 70 sons by many different wives and at least one concubine. David, that family included wives, concubines, brother-sister rape, fratricide, attempted patricide, and a son having an orgy with ten of Dad’s concubines. This is stuff that would shock a Jerry Springer audience. King David was a great man who changed History, but his family was quite dysfunctional.